Category Archives: Monthly Roundups

The Principal of the Thing: June ’18 Roundup

Princess Principal (17)

This will be a brief preamble, since there’s not much to report on (or wax poetic about) this month. After slaving away over a hot seminar most of May, I sort of unofficially took the first little bit of June off to just dive into some fiction instead of critical reading. The neat thing about doing a creative writing/lit studies postgrad project is that it’s relatively easy to convince yourself that reading fun books is still research; which is a handy thing when you are simultaneously exhausted but also filled with the agonising need to be Productive at all times. It’s also always nice to stumble into a really good book and remember with a flash just how fun reading can be. Expect some reviews over the next few months!

I’ve also been doing a lot of editing, both for uni projects and for web-based ones, so I can confirm there are some exciting new feature articles on their way soon! But for now, let’s focus on the present:

On the blog this month:

Loyalty Among Thieves: Found Family in Princess Principal (in which meaningful, interesting character relationships win out over spy capers every time)

Boy Meets Boy: A Fantasy Novel…? (in which there’s something just a little bit magical about this story of happy gay teens)

Due to popular demand (well, a couple of people expressed interest, which still totally counts) I’ve also added a Book Recs page to the blog, where I’ll compile an ever-growing list of cool and interesting non-fiction I come across in my studies. There is crossover between categories of course, but for now at least they’re divided into Mythology and Foklore, Gender/Queer Studies, and Genre Studies. If any of that sounds neat, roll on over and take a look!

Web Content:

Late to the party I know, but wow! That Lindsay Ellis lady with the video essays is pretty good! I’ve been especially having fun with her deep dive into film theory using the Michael Bay Transformers movies. They’re funny, informative, and it’s always a good time to call these movies out on their nonsense (and, of course, it’s always a good time to look at pop culture through an academic lens instead of setting it aside as “low art”).

In Defense of Escapism — over on Uncanny Magazine, Kelly McCullough asks why “it’s escapism” is such a damning phrase when escapism is so important, especially to marginalised groups.

My Fave is Problematic: Kill La Kill — the question “is this work of fiction Feminist(TM) or not?” is not one with an easy answer, nor is it a particularly useful one when it comes down to it. Rianne Torres digs into exactly this through the lens of the divisive series Kill La Kill.

Lady Bird and the Slice of Life Genre in Film — the slice-of-life genre is a staple of anime (and one of my favourites, when done well) but it’s less common in Hollywood film. Could we consider something like The Florida Project or Lady Bird to be slice-of-life by the same parameters? Mythos gets into it.

In Praise of How the Women of Ocean’s 8 Eat — you may not notice it until you think about it, but there are a strangely strict set of tropes around female characters eating in movies. This article lays them out and talks about some works that subvert them, using the recent Ocean’s 8 as a jumping off point.

Solo: A Shortcoming of Gender and Sexuality — big movie producers are back on their BS announcing that their characters are queer on social media while not representing it in the movie itself. Also designing sexy lady robots for dudes to date.

Queer Young Adult Fiction Grows Beyond the Coming Out Story — a neat summary of how YA has become one of the pioneering mediums not just for LGBTQ+ representation, but for representation that goes beyond the usual tropes and presents stories of all kinds and genres to its readers.

Let Queer Characters Be Happy — exactly what the title suggests, though in this case arguing the case specifically within the medium of video games. This discussion is usually framed around books, movies, and TV series, so it’s cool to see this critical lens being applied to game stories too.

And just for a bit of fun, and in keeping with the genre studies theme, over on YouTube one baffled British man is undergoing a years-long heroic journey through the bootleg-toy-infested fantasy realm of dollar stores and it’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen:

Take care, everyone!

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Diving In: May ’18 Roundup

secret society

Did I say last month that a PhD is a hell of a thing? Well, at the risk of repeating myself, a PhD sure is a hell of a thing. I spent most of this month preparing (research-wise and emotionally) for a big ol’ presentation where I officially introduced my project to the world. The buildup, as with most public speaking gigs, turned out to be worse than the actual presentation itself. It helped that the seminar was held in a small tutorial room with a projector screen, when I had been picturing (against all logic) that they’d fling me into a gigantic hall with a stage and massive screens. Like, not even a lecture hall, but something like you’d see at E3 or some nonsense.

Hyperbolic imagination and all, it was kind of nice to be nervous about something because I was genuinely passionate about it and wanted it to go well, as opposed to the “oh my God I hate this and want to get it over with” sort of anguish. It’s rewarding to be given the freedom and support to dive into a project–both critical and creative–that is so close to my heart. And of course rewarding to get feedback from my (little) audience and have people show interest in it as well (this feedback was also rewarding because it confirmed that the audience not only listened, but managed to decipher what I said while I talked at 60KM/h in stage-fright!)

And of course you guys got a little taste of this project too in the form of my “genre is fake” post, which is a sort of blog-language literature review for one of the topics that’s most important to the project. Any posts to do with messing with genre and/or familiar tropes and narratives will go in the thesis tag from now on (including last month’s “Fairy Tales and Flowerbeds” which has been added retrospectively… to join most of the other posts I’ve written about Utena. Something about that show, man. It just lines up with all my stuff).

Some of you also expressed interest in a list of book recommendations to do with genre study/mythology/queer study, and this is on its way, if not ready just yet! Hopefully by next roundup I should be able to link to it.

Whew. With all that out of the way, I think I’m going to take a nap for a few days. Here are some cool links in the meantime:

On the blog:

Amanchu (4)

Adolescence, Anxiety, and Amanchu! (a reflection on a sweet little show about scuba diving and how I could see my own high school experience reflected in it)

Genre is Fake (But Very Useful) (a brief rundown of a key concept in my thesis: that genre is not “the rules” so much as a guide and an analytical tool to be played with)

On AniFem:

Cozy Campfires, Bitter Broth: Female Relationships in Laid-Back Camp vs Miss Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles (an examination of the central characters in The Camping Anime versus The Ramen Anime, and how relationship development makes all the difference between a show that’s heartwarming and a show that’s teeth-grindly tropey and stagnant)

Cool reads around the web:

There’s a lot of manga about girls falling in love with other girls out there in the world, but as demonstrated by recent tropey, icky releases like citrus, some of it is not thaaat great. So Zeria steps up with a plateful of genre know-how and delivers a list of ten of the best yuri manga for those who haven’t dabbled before but want to give it a shot. A transcript can be found here! I really need to read Kase-san, don’t I…

This month I discovered Uncanny Magazine, a sci-fi and fantasy-focussed publication stocked up with both short fiction and essays from a variety of diverse voices. Some favourites so far:

Worth a read as well is this piece on Atlas Obscura about the history and impact of the lesbian pulp novels of the ’50s and ’60s. Always a bizarre and fascinating topic, and in many ways tied into many tropes we recognise today… though that’s material enough for another post.

This month a very Big Marvel movie came out and caused all sorts of ruckus. The Mary Sue had a few choice critical pieces about it scattered across the month, addressing how it sidelines certain characters, isn’t super great to its women, and… well, this one’s just called ‘Thanos is a Terrible Villain’. Zac Bertschy also put out an article specifically critiquing the choice to try and make Thanos “sympathetic”.

And finally, here is an interview with the adorable married-couple creative team behind the stop motion music segments in Pop Team Epic.

…actually, for my final link I’m going to leave you with this. I promise there is fascinating and in-depth analysis of geek culture and art in amongst the surrealist film:

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Bear With Me: April ’18 Roundup

yeah horrifying

I don’t have a long preamble for this month–I am currently the world’s most boring person to chat with, since whenever someone asks “so what are you up to?” all I can say is “reading”. I think I’ve consumed more text in the last few months than ever before in my life. I’m crunching through entire books within days, something that’s so downright surreal that I made a Goodreads account just to show it off (and also to spend an afternoon not reading but still technically doing something productive). If anyone’s interested, I’m also considering making a page of book recommendations here on the blog for anyone interested in mythology, genre studies, queer studies, and the intersections of all three, since I’m finding a lot of cool stuff. Let me know if that sounds fun!

Now, enough about reading, and onto writing:

On the Blog:

Fairy Tales and Flowerbeds: Messing with Genre in Revolutionary Girl Utena and Yurikuma Arashi (in which Ikuhara anime deliberately plays with your expectations, and is also very gay)

Folklore, Worldbuilding, and Fun with Unreliable Narrators (in which the question of truth creates some spooky fun and depth of setting in Ash and Night in the Woods)

And the final episode writeup for A Place Further Than the Universe!

Fun Things Around the Web:

You know what’s fun, but that I don’t talk about a lot over here? Fashion history!

The entirety of BBC documentary A Stitch in Time is up on YouTube, so you can sit back and watch fashion historians, tailors, and costume designers puzzle out how to recreate outfits from famous paintings, teaching us much about their social context as well as their technical aspects along the way.

I love this sort of immersive, hands-on social history. The clothes people wore, the everyday objects they used, and the food they ate (incidentally, all of Supersizers Go is also up on YouTube at the moment) can tell us so much about day-to-day life throughout history. Fashion blogger Safiya Nygaard also recently completed a half-century-spanning series of historical fashion challenges to dig into these exact details, and the results are informative as well as very fun (and stands a better chance of not being taken off YouTube by the BBC…):

And now, articles:

Dear Marvel, Please Let Your Men Hug Each Other–come on guys, be afraid of Thanos destroying the universe, not of expressions of male affection!

Male Gaze, Female Eye: Comic Girls, Slow Start, Sakura Trick and Lewdness–if a show is made to appeal to straight dudes but a lesbian enjoys it, does that diminish the nature of the Male Gaze? Where do authorial intent and audience reception collide and/or cancel each other out? There is no simple answer.

Recently, I also discovered The Asexual, a web-published journal of creative writing and essays meant to showcase the ace community. Some personal favourites so far are journal founder Michael Paramo’s Beyond Sex: The Multi-Layered Model of Attraction“Meaningless Sex” by Heidi Samuelson, and My Waking Up by Adolfo Gamboa.

And it was the start of a new anime season, which means it was premiere review season! Head on over to AniFem’s collection of impressions to see if there’s a series there that sounds good!

And this month’s podcast rec is…

POL_HistoryofFun_Final_preview__1_.0

Polygon’s The History of Fun! More delightful social history, this time putting the magnifying glass over hobbies, games, and other things people do for fun, from the fraught path of Neopets to the surprising origins of roller derby (Victorian era marathons on wheels). It’s entertaining and educational, and of course packed full of nostalgia is that’s something you’re hankering for.

That’s all from me this time ’round. Take care out there everyone!

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The Fault in Our Starscreams: March ’18 Roundup

starscream getting hit in the face

March marks the one year anniversary of my first post on AniFem… something that’s kind of funny, given that the article of mine that went up this March probably couldn’t be about more different subject matter if it tried. It’s interesting to see that my dark magical girl piece–one that apparently caused quite a stir and quite some discussion, most of which I missed from a) not being on Twitter yet and b) being too nervous to check the comment section–is the only one of mine in the “Discourse” tag, and the rest are all more in the “here is something I think is cool and interesting” vein. You can see a similar pattern stretched out across my personal blogging, too. My “Things We Need To Stop Doing” category is gathering dust these days, where once it was an active volcano of my gripes with fiction.

It’s not that I’m no longer interested in writing critically about things, it’s just… well, I think I’ve reached a point of what you could maybe call sage wisdom where I would rather spend my time watching/reading things that make me feel positive emotions and don’t give me much to be grumpy and critical about. If I don’t like something, these days I’ll just not engage with it, in favour of picking up something else that I enjoy more. While I can see the appeal of hate-watching and the beautiful scathing writing that can come out of it, it’s just not something I have the emotional energy for in this mad world we live in. So generally you’re more likely to see a “I found this interesting and cool” analysis of mine than a “here are all the awful problems in this piece of media” analysis, these days. Generally. There is at least one critical “this was bad, yo” post on the way, but even then it’s a comparison between two pieces of media, so at least half of it is still positive reactions.

Here is some sage wisdom: life is too short to engage with media that makes you feel negative emotions, especially when you’re tired from work and stressed out about the broader madness going on in the world. Surround yourself with positivity. Write about your passions. Watch cartoons about robots and friends going camping.

On the blog this month:

2018-02-17 (1)Baccano! Vol. 3: A Delightful Trainwreck (cryptids, gangsters, and not-so-great handling of otherwise badass female characters)

Starscream’s High Heels and the Androgyny of the Trickster (mythic archetypes, gender, and a very pointy robot)

Words in Deep Blue: Poignant, Poetic, and Only a Little Pretentious (grief, young love, and some really dumb high school tropes)

Plus A Place Further Than the Universe episodes 9 & 10 and 11 & 12! In the interest of neatly having one post per week, episode thirteen and a general series writeup will go out next Thursday.

On Anime Feminist:

Pop Team Epic and the Value of Letting Girls Be Absurd (still thinking about Hellshake Yanno? I know I am. I’m also thinking about how nice it is that this wacky show gives its comedic leading roles to girls)

Cool web content:

 

Pop Culture Detective is back calling out positive portrayals of icky male behaviour in film and TV, this time with the trope of Nice Guy heroes following girls around until they fall in love.

Red Sparrow is Male Gaze as Female Empowerment – I thought this movie looked just sort of boring and clichéd, but after reading this plot synopsis and analysis I am actively disgusted with it. The Mary Sue makes the case that we should stop having our female characters be traumatised, sexually abused, and beaten up in order to show how “powerful” they really are, and I have to agree.

I Love Black Panther with All My Heart, But I Deserve to See My Queer Self in it Too – did you know Okoye was going to have a girlfriend but it got cut from the film, following a long tradition of queer erasure between Marvel comics and their movie adaptations? I do now, and it feels like daylight robbery.

New Game! and the Trouble with Women in TechNew Game! was a silly little slice-of-life show about women working in a male-dominated industry… that wasn’t as empowering as it could have been. Elisabeth sums up both the fun and the problems I had with this show with this: “In an all-female utopia free from toxic manly chutzpah, women can be successful creators of sword and sorcery games. But only if they’re cute or alluring, and only in a way that would be entertaining and inoffensive to men if one ‘just happened’ to be watching through the wall.”

Ready Player One: A Study in Why Tokenizing is Terrible – Ready Player One (the novel) heard people call it a white boy’s power fantasy, so it made a slapdash attempt at diversity by throwing in some very badly-handled characters. An adequate reason to call this movie garbage even without all the commercialism and nerd wank.

This hilarious thread asking what the world would look like if the media talked about movies with straight romance the way they talk about movies with queer romance.

As a bonus, in the wake of this season’s success with Camping Anime, Ramen Anime, and the like, I asked the folks of Twitter what hobby or interest they’d base a slice-of-life series around. The results were inspiring.

And we have podcast recommendations happening again!!

mythpod

In truth, I’ve been subscribed to Jason Weiser’s Myths and Legends for ages, but only recently have I dived in and started really enjoying it. He tells stories from all across the world (including a series on the Arthurian myths so long and in-depth that it might even get me to finally understand them) in an upbeat and engaging way, just as capable of being suspenseful as he is at being hilarious. You can find all the episodes on your podcast app of choice, of course, but the website has great, eye-catching artwork to go with each one. Some personal favourites so far are the Greek Oedipus (complete with an Arrested Development reference in the title) and this Scottish tale about kelpies (which are not fun at parties).

And that’s all for now! As always, take care.

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The Sleepy Structuralist: February ’18 Roundup

2017-10-06 (26)

They’ve got a word for everything in academia… and if there isn’t a word already, someone will spend a whole paper justifying why they’ve made one up. It fills the field with a dizzying bevy of -isms and -ologys. I had to reassure a group of new students this month not to worry if they don’t know which term fits their research, or fuss too much about remembering them all. After all, I had to Google what “structuralism” was recently, figuring that “huh, people keep saying this word in papers and stuff, I should probably try to figure out what it means”. Turns out that pesky “structuralism” thing is basically what I’ve been doing the whole time. So that was mildly embarrassing (though it’s nice to know that there’s a specific word out there for your thing and has been this whole time… it was like a way less exciting version of when I discovered definitions of asexuality).

Structuralism in literary studies is an interest in patterns and the way stories are put together, and how they relate to one another in bigger contexts like genre (post-structuralism extends from this into all sorts of fun stuff like text deconstruction and agreeing that there isn’t one “true” reading of a work). If you’ve been following this blog for more than a few posts, that probably sounds very familiar. The more I think about it, the more the hours I spent trawling TV Tropes in high school were neat foreshadowing for my eventual fascination with archetypes and narratives, which is what I’m now lucky enough to be researching and writing about as a job. If I were to make a separate blog for more hoity-toity high-concept academic stuff, I think “The Sleepy Structuralist” would be a fun name for it, as I am, it turns out, something of a structuralist researcher, and also very very tired. A PhD is a hell of a thing. But I’m having fun, don’t worry about that. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring some of my newfound know-how to the blog soon… though I promise not to drown you in terminology.

On the blog this month:

Coming Out of Your (World’s) Shell: Growing Up and Breaking Free with Cocona and Utena (in which I make my first foray into writing about the surreal and sapphic Adolesence of Utena, as well as returning to Flip Flappers to talk about their narratives of growth and escape)

Laid-Back Camp, a (Happy) Story of Solitude (in which I sing the praises of The Cute Camping Anime for its respectful treatment of its introvert protagonist)

The final Madoka episode review! My gosh, what a journey that was.

And episode reviews for A Place Further Than the Universe 5 & 6, and 7 & 8. This show is so damn good, guys.

Cool web content:

Further Than the Universe (39)

DEVILMAN crybaby, Legacies of Queerness, and Diversifying Remakes – Vrai writes about the questionable history of queer rep in the Devilman juggernaut, and how its most recent incarnation does some positive things to bring it into the current day. For instance, hot tip: don’t have literal Satan be your only gay character.

(Side note: I did not watch DEVILMAN crybaby, but I physically cannot stop listening to the opening theme music)

Pop Team Epic – Interview with Producer Kotaro Sudo – a fascinating look behind the scenes of “the shitpost anime” (and I call it that in the most affectionate way possible).

The Ontology of ‘Boys’ in the McElroy Realm, part one and part two – having spent this whole month reading academic texts about Very Serious Business, it was possibly funnier than it should have been to read these two articles about something very silly in the exact same style of language.

Black Panther and the Invention of “Africa” – the kingdom of Wakanda isn’t real, but it does speak to a deep history of Africa as a “mythologized” place, and the efforts to reclaim that for the better.

Above is a neat video essay from Zeria discussing common misconceptions about yuri as a genre, ranging from myths about its gendered marketing to the trouble with subtext (a word often misused to mean “they don’t kiss, therefore it isn’t really a romance”). You can also find the transcript here.

The Diversification of Otaku in Japanese Media – another great AniFem piece, this time looking at the tangled and intriguing history of how otaku characters are portrayed in anime, from the ’80s all the way through the current day.

What’s Wrong with Heteronormativity? — Meg-John Barker is here to answer (and explain) that question. I recently read Queer: A Graphic History, which is a very useful (and fun) book that aims to lay out the history of queer theory and lever it out of that academic jargon I was talking about in the intro to this post. The author has a blog with all sorts of interesting stuff, but this is a particularly neat post that I wanted to share!

To wrap up, I don’t think I’ve ever linked to Caitlin’s Abuse in Shoujo By the Numbers series, so I’m going to correct that now. Week by week, she’s diligently working her way through an entire catalogue of shoujo manga with a rubric in hand to measure the abusive behaviour present in the main romances. Sometimes it’s romanticised, sometimes it’s complicated–she provides discussion to go with each ranking to clarify and summarise her numerical review, as well as talk about whatever else strikes her about that particular work (be that the good, the bad, or the ugly). You can start from the most recent entry and work your way back. If you have any interest in media representation, especially in romance, they’re a fascinating read.

That’s all from me for now! As always, take care, and thank you for reading.

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The Gods Must Be Crazy: January ’18 Roundup

Further Than the Universe (5)

This month I took some time off before diving into the new academic year, which means in an absence of mandated activity I was effectively on “summer holidays” for the first time since high school. No shifts to work, no studying to do… just me, the sunshine, copious amounts of free time, and the crushing feeling of obligation to Get Things Done.

I’m sure this is a feeling we’re all familiar with in some way. Isn’t it a bastard of an emotion? Someone out there probably has a psychoanalytical explanation that this ingrained sense that we Must Be Productive is the result of capitalism’s slimy grip, but I think it’s also just the way my brain has come to work. When I realised January was half over already I felt the world spiral–my time was nearly up, and I hadn’t done enough!!

Of course, I don’t know what I’d officially define “enough” as. I did a pretty rad amount of writing this month, if I do say so myself (I have the blog queue stocked up quite nicely, and I finished my Madoka writeups, as well as impulsively starting a series on the currently-airing emotions-inducing A Place Further Than the Universe), but I think even if I ended up writing a hundred thousand words in my break I’d feel somehow like I hadn’t hit “enough”. And you know what? It’s a nonsense way for a brain to work. This concept of having to wring the productive potential out of every hour in the day will sap your mental energy when you adhere to it, and leave you anxious and unfulfilled when you don’t. Just do what you can, and remember that you’re allowed to just, like, chill out occasionally. Hours aren’t wasted just because you didn’t make something in them. Making stuff is hard, and you should be proud of anything new that you create! These are the mantras I’m trying to remind myself of, so I thought I’d pass them onto you guys as well.

All that aforementioned writing:

 

 

 

A Big Ol’ Pile of Anime Recommendations (2017)

A Magical Girl Education: Sugar Sugar Rune (the manga with a strong aesthetic, the Power of Friendship, and almost romanticised incest!)

Gods Behaving Badly: Shenanigans of Mythical Proportions (the novel that’s been called “the fluffy whipped-cream version of American Gods” where the gods of Olympus have to flatshare)

Madoka Magica episode writeups for 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 (it was a month with a lot of Mondays, thus a month with a lot of Madokas)

A Place Further Than the Universe episode writeups for 1 & 2, and 3 & 4

Cool Content:

 

Hey, remember when I complained about Riverdale, but noted that I couldn’t judge it as an adaptation? Here’s someone who can! He says it’s Bad. (Bonus—respectful discussion of asexuality!)

It’s the start of a new anime season (again)! Which means it’s time to check out AniFem’s premiere reviews, all compiled nicely here, to see what looks good, what looks okay, and what looks like Anime Was a Mistake.

Sun, Moon & Stars: Cardcaptor Sakura Retrospective – Marion rewatches the magical girl darling and finds a renewed love for it (and a renewed critical eye for the skeevy aspects to some of the romance).

Recovery of an MMO Junkie: In Defense of an Anxious Protagonist – Black Nerd Problems celebrate the earnest portrayal of Moriko’s anxiety, and how it’s a nice change from the usual stereotypes on-screen anxiousness can fall into (for real, let’s move away from anything associated with Woody Allen, fictional character types or otherwise).

A Twitter thread from Vrai about the “take what you can get” gay character and why it’s a frustrating narrative (tying nicely into some of the problems Marion had with Cardcaptor Sakura).

Fantastic Video Essays by Women and Where to Find Them – on Film School Rejects, some recommendations of analytical video essays about film and media by ladies! Will definitely have to check some of these out.

The Written Word and more Victorian-Era Trappings in Violet Evergarden – looks like Violet Evergarden is the unwatchable (until it appears on my country’s Netflix) series that I’ll be keeping up with through meta posts this season. Emily writes knowledgably and beautifully as always, here about the power of the novel in the Industrial Revolution, and how this factors into Violet’s story.

Netoju no Susume – On Compersion and Virtual Identities – Another MMO Junkie analysis, this time looking into the phenomena of empathy for and identification with fictional characters, and how this influences both the audience watching the series and the how the characters within the series navigate their online relationships.

Weathering the Adolescent Storm: A Place Further Than the Universe and Liberation – everything Nana writes is beautiful, and this time Nana’s writing about freedom and coming-of-age in A Place Further Than the Universe.

Cool Pod-content:

foodstuff banner

There was a glorious phase where I was catching a lot of public transport and thus had plenty of perfect opportunities to listen to podcasts. Nowadays that’s not so much the case, so the rate at which I’m burning through episodes and discovering new series has dropped. That said, I have, courtesy of CP, found FoodStuff, which is a beautiful blend of social history and food science. And it’s run by ladies, which is always nice! They’ve covered everything from the history of the toast to current food fads like flavour tripping (see, I didn’t even know that was a thing, but I have learned!)

Anime Is Lit is also on a valiant mission to help me understand what the hell a DEVILMAN is, and Shojo and Tell continues to be a delight, as does Trash & Treasures. I’ve been in a real “chill out and listen to people talk about things they like” mood, can you tell? It’s the summertime. In between the monstrous desire to be Productive, anyway.

That’s about it for now, one month into 2018. Take care out there, whether it’s in the heat or the cold!

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Don We Now Our Gay Apparel: December ’17 Roundup

Urahara research

Well that sure was a hell of a year. I’m definitely not the only one collapsing while thinking those words, so whether you had a rough year or a good year or just kind of a Year, congratulations, you made it, you have earned a long rest and a drink, and let’s gather ourselves for whatever the next one holds!

2017 was… a pretty big deal for me, career-wise. God, what an Adult sentence. I got paid to write about my geeky passions for the first time, which is a completely awesome milestone, so mega shout-out to the hard-working staff and supporters of AniFem for making that possible! I also started publishing on Lady Geek Girl and Friends, which, while it’s volunteer work, is still incredible since I’ve followed and enjoyed that blog for a long time and am delighted to now be contributing as one of the “and Friends” as well as riding along as a reader.

Perhaps the biggest deal is completing my Honours dissertation, which you can read here! It was a lot of hard work and a lot of fun, and needless to say hugely rewarding, to be able to focus for a year on a topic that I was passionate about and learn and create within that field. The mega exciting news is that a year-long creative research project hasn’t scared me off, and I’ll be sliding into a PhD as of next year–which means an even bigger thesis to yell at!

On the blog this month:

Do_not_throw_souls

URAHARA and the Crises of Creativity (a discussion of a new magical girl series and how it holds the struggles of creators–be they artists, writers, designers, etc–at the heart of its character drama. Also, body horror. But pastel-coloured and fixed with The Power of Friendship, so it’s okay…?)

Girls on The Hero’s Journey, Two Ways (Starring Moana and Utena) (a modified, blog-ified transcript of a presentation I gave at my very first conference)

Also Madoka Magica episodes three, four, five and six!

On Anime Feminist:

Escapism and Healing in Recovery of an MMO Junkie (in which I manage to get my “I loved this show and I love Moriko and want her to be happy” feelings into a coherent character analysis article)

Cool things around the web:

2017-10-22 (16)

Yes, I know, I’ve used a picture from MMO Junkie for this segment for the last three roundups. It’s just got a lot of good emotive pictures of people at/in computers.

Congratulations To Me, I Have Fixed Love Actually Once and For All — in honour of the Christmas (and thus the Christmas movie) season, I’m bringing back this post from last year in which comedian Rebecca Shaw rewrites the many plots of iconic romance Love Actually to be less “relentlessly, grotesquely, and unforgivingly heterosexual”

The Transformed Earth and Our Children: Land of the Lustrous, Nier,and the Future — I learned what exactly posthumanism is at a very neat panel at the conference. Here is a very neat post looking at how two recent sci-fi works explore it in their own ways

Exceptionalism and Heroism: Most Heroes are Born Into It — a Mary Sue article using Star Wars as a jumping off point to talk about the long history of heroic characters being born into their power, creating “chosen one” narratives where being “chosen” has less to do with destiny and more to do with who your parents are (and creating suffocating family dramas along the way)

Drunk Book Club: The Da Vinci Code — Vrai and Dorothy get tipsy and take some hilarious and eloquent digs at Dan Brown (listen below or at the link)

Sunstone: Love, Humour and Heart Hidden in a BDSM Story — Mythos reviews the queer and kinky love story that is the graphic novel Sunstone, which sounds perfectly delightful in a progressive, positive, sweet, Cute Demon Crashers sort of way

Kyoto Animation, Mental Health, and Me — an exploration of how one studio realistically portrays social anxiety and other issues in their young characters

Afflicted Escapists: MMO Junkie, Mental Health, and Identity — Little Anime Blog is back from hiatus and hitting it out of the park with analysis again, in this case looking into the perception that video games isolate people versus the power video games have to bring people together, in the context of the healing narratives in MMO Junkie. This gets to delve into some stuff my article couldn’t given its focus on Moriko and it’s a good read

I’ve Always Liked You, Childhood Friends — Isaac examines the deep-seated appeal of the “childhood friends to lovers” trope and, I think, hits the nail on the head

Also this Harry Potter chapter written by a bot, which managed entirely by accident to be the funniest thing I have ever seen

And to conclude, please follow this cat on Twitter:

Take care everybody, and I’ll see you in the new year!

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